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Literature Reviews in the Social Sciences

A guide on conducting & writing literature reviews for students in the Social Sciences.

Understand your topic

Before you conduct a literature review, you need to have a good research question and at least a decent understanding of your topic.  It's probably a good idea to just read for a while before you seriously start strategizing for your literature review. These steps are more or less necessary for any literature review, so it doesn't hurt to think about them ahead of time:

  • Formulate your research question

  • Find a focus and a working thesis statement for your lit review

  • Select appropriate databases

  • Search for sources

  • Keep organized with citation management software

  • Evaluate your sources

  • Structure your literature review 

  • Write!